Welsh Government move closer to physical punishment ban

Wales has taken the next step towards protecting children’s’ rights by introducing legislation to end the physical punishment of children. RCPCH responds.

The Welsh Government has introduced the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Bill (#ChildrenWalesBill) to the National Assembly.

If the Bill is passed by the National Assembly for Wales, parents and other adults acting in a parental capacity will no longer be able to physically punish children – children will have the same protection from physical punishment as adults.

In response to the move, Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:

When a parent raises a hand to a defenceless child - whether that’s a smack, slap or another physically harmful behaviour - they have lost control. Research tells us that children who are physically punished are more likely to have poorer mental health and physical well-being and when they grow up, are more likely to engage in self-destructive or antisocial behaviour. Hurting a child isn’t acceptable and it is a form of child abuse.

It’s time to change to the law to make it clear that physical punishment is unacceptable and we’re glad to see Welsh Government wants to give children the same protection as adults.